My Pregnancy Style Essentials (Keeping Mat-Wear to a Minimum)

woman holding toddler

When I was about eight months pregnant with Ted, I received a lovely compliment from a lady I was working with, who told me it was great that I’d managed to keep my own style during pregnancy.

At least, I think it was a compliment, assuming she didn’t think my dress sense was totally horrendous.

(“I always thought you looked like you got dressed in the dark, and you still look like that now, even though you’re about to pop! How wonderful!”)

I was chuffed, regardless.

At the time, I worked at a client’s offices a couple of times a week, which meant I actually had to get dressed, and look presentable. GASP! As someone used to working mostly from home, this was quite an ask, and especially when up the duff for the first time. (Freelancer myths would have you believe that we always work in pyjamas, or maybe jogging bottoms, if feeling particularly jazzy and motivated.)

Anyway, this time around, I haven’t had to go into an office regularly, but I DO have to leave the house.

And as tempting as it is to go out in PJs, I feel like I owe it to Ted to make a smidgen of effort whenever we embark on one of our exciting excursions, to the park or Aldi.

How I Felt About My Body Then (First Pregnancy)….

As is often the case with first pregnancies, my body didn’t alter that much until a good five months in. I didn’t actually tell clients I was pregnant until 5/6 months; I managed to dress the bump in skinny maternity jeans and loose tops and no-one was any the wiser.

I was definitely humongous (or felt it) by the end of my pregnancy last time though, particularly when it got hot and my feet swelled (joy). See note below about becoming acquainted with wide fit shoes. 

….versus How I Feel This Time Around

At 31 weeks pregnant, I am officially feeling like a lump.

A frumpy lump; a dumpling.

I am trying not to let it bother me, and I don’t think about it THAT much, to be honest.

Certainly, on the days where it’s just me and Ted, I don’t have much time to fret about how I look in my clothes because I am usually too busy trying to stop him from depositing the contents of my make-up bag in various spots around our bedroom while I get dressed.

I’m also very conscious of this being my second and last pregnancy.

I mostly enjoy being pregnant; I haven’t felt too uncomfortable – touch wood – and there are just two more months left in my life of being lucky enough to carry another baby. It’s likely that those next two months will whizz by. (EEEEEEEEKKKKK.)

I won’t do this again nor feel this way again. So I am trying to savour the experience, this biological miracle, without marring it by freaking out about how ginormous my arse looks.

But it can be tough. As is resisting the urge to panic buy a load of clothes that I won’t wear again, just because almost everything I own is now too small or makes me look ‘matronly’.

I know some women love how their body changes in pregnancy. In part, I do. But also, I don’t really feel that much like me when I’ve got an ample bosom and a big bum. I feel older, for a start. (And I’m already a ‘geriatric’ mum.)

Still – the bosom and the bum are all part of the miraculous experience of pregnancy and I’m beyond lucky in so many ways, so I’m gonna try not to hate on them too much, as ‘the youth’ say.

woman holding toddler

My Pregnancy-wear Essentials

Before I go into my little list, I’d like to point out that the only things I’ve really needed to buy to feel like ‘me’ and half-presentable – that I didn’t already own – were maternity jeans and dungarees, a swimming cozzie and some bra tops.

Everything else I’ve bought has been non-maternity, and I’ve ‘made do’ with a lot of things I already had.

So it’s definitely worth ‘auditing’ your existing wardrobe – if that doesn’t sound completely ridiculous (it does) – at the start and probably during your pregnancy before spending a load of cash on stuff you won’t get much wear out of. (And also, lots of maternity wear is bloody awful, so I don’t see the point in buying it unless you really have to.)

woman wearing dungarees

Maternity jeans and/or dungarees

Last time around, I bought two over-the-bump skinny fit pairs of jeans – a black pair from New Look and a blue pair from H&M. They stayed up reasonably well, but I’ve not found them as comfortable to wear this time and now I’m always pulling them up. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m bigger this time or because I’m running around more.

Dungarees have been my saviour this pregnancy. I treated myself to two pairs: a loose fit black denim pair from Dorothy Perkins, and a slimmer fit blue denim from H&M. I’ve worn both pairs a lot, and will continue to do so unless the weather turns scorchio this summer.  I also bought a linen, non-maternity pair when on holiday in Majorca last summer which are surprisingly perfect, and can be worn even when it’s hot.

Dungas aren’t for everyone: some people feel like a kids’ TV presenter in them, or a mechanic.

I say embrace the mechanic.

Slim fit long skirts

Personally, I like the silhouette of a long tube-type skirt beneath a bump. I have a very old black one that I bought in Australia many moons ago, and a red one from Primark – again, it’s old but they have similar in at the moment.

I prefer them without slits, as long as they’re stretchy enough to run after a toddler in, obviously, otherwise you might as well have your ankles tied together.

Oversized t-shirts

I like oversized t-shirts with slim fit jeans because it gives some sort of proportion, which I feel I particularly need because I’m short (5ft 3ins).

My favourite style of t-shirt, preggo or not, is a loose boyfriend type, preferably with a rolled-up short sleeve (not too short though – pet hate…).  I’ve bought a few from H&M during both pregnancies; the ones I get are from the Divided section, I think they’re £6.99 and have a roll sleeve and are oversized (size small is fine for me).

In the last few weeks of being pregnant with Ted, I mostly wore these with loose trousers, with a little knot tied in the T-shirts under my bump in an attempt to not look too shapeless. It was probably a fruitless attempt at that stage but never mind. 

Loose dresses and/or stretchy cotton dresses

Personally, I like a t-shirt dress during pregnancy that fits around the bump – until I get ‘too’ big and then I just want to wrap myself in the nearest sheet.

‘Too’ big is of course nonsense; it’s all about how you feel. Without wanting to state the obvious, COMFORT really is the most important thing, especially in the last trimester. So wear a tight dress or wear a baggy dress, but if buying new consider things that will work with or without a bump.

I’ve never bought a maternity dress – it felt unnecessary as there are enough non-mat styles out there that should work for both during and post-pregnancy. I bought a size up when going for a fitted option last time around, and I *may* have just panic-bought a couple of loose summer dresses from Primark this week (including the striped one above) because I was hating everything – I know I’ll wear them post-pregnancy so my conscience is eased slightly.

Harem-style pants/’posh joggers’

Loose trousers were my go-to last time with Ted, particularly at the end of my pregnancy when it got hot and I got massive (see pic below, of the two Polaroids – the one on the left was taken two days before he finally arrived). I had a couple of baggy pants from H&M and a black cotton beachwear pair from Marks and Spencer which I still love.

Anything with an elasticated waist to go under the bump, that doesn’t look like it was bought from those brochures you get in Sunday supplements is a winner. ‘Posh jogger’ type trousers are ideal.

polaroids of a pregnant woman and newborn

Undies & swimwear

It’s advised that pregnant ladies ditch underwired bras early on. My boobs aren’t huge even in pregnancy (even if they feel it right now) so I got away with wearing some really comfy and soft bra top type things I bought for a few quid from Primark. If you’re a larger-chested babe then you might need to look at other options.

I found it very difficult to find any nice non-frumpy maternity swimwear that doesn’t cost a fortune. In the end I got a decent and cheap one at George at Asda, which is worth a look. 

Shoes

My feet swelled a lot when pregnant with Ted, and during a May heatwave just before he was born I could wear only flip-flops and some wide-fit sandals from New Look. Worth bearing in mind: wide fit shoes could become your friend.

Thanks for reading, and bye for now x

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Hello, I'm Laura. I write about parenting, life, style, building a business and finding success on your own terms.

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